Combating the effects of aging becomes especially important as men hit their 40s. These are the years where your testosterone begins to decline significantly each year. This leads to corresponding losses in muscle mass, strength, energy and virility. The fact is, an age-related drop in testosterone is completely normal and simply a reality of aging. That said, there are some specific things you can do to combat the effects of aging as a male. In particular, strength training with weights is among the most effective ways to combat the creeping effect of time. In fact, you can actually gain strength depending on your baseline, effectively reversing these age-related changes to some extent. Today I’m here to share seven of the best strength-building exercises for men over 40, so get ready to take notes.
It’s important to combine strength training with a healthy diet, quality sleep, hydration, and low alcohol intake for best results. With all of that in mind, the following are my top seven strength-building exercises that I assign to all of my clients over the age of 40. I personally recommend splitting your exercises into two weekly workouts by doing three to four exercises per workout. For the greatest strength gain, perform four sets of three to five repetitions of each exercise for a failure-causing weight around six repetitions, resting for three minutes between sets. To maximize muscle growth, perform three sets of 8 to 12 reps with a weight that causes failure around rep 12, resting for 90 seconds between sets.
Read on to learn about the seven best strength-building exercises for men over 40. And when you’re done, be sure to read up on the 5 strength exercises men should do every day to stay in shape.
The deadlift is a superb full-body exercise that significantly improves strength and muscle growth. This compound movement primarily targets the glutes, hamstrings, and core.
To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip-width apart; the barbell should be above the middle of your feet. Bend at the hips and knees to grab the bar with an overhand or mixed grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, push your entire foot into both legs to lift the bar. As the bar passes your knees, pull your shoulder blades back and push your hips forward. Lower the bar to the floor, maintaining control throughout the movement. Repeat for target repetitions.
Lunges are great for working out your entire lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. They also improve balance and coordination.
To perform a lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right foot, and as you do so, rotate your left foot slightly inward. Lower your body until your right knee forms a 90-degree angle and your left knee is just above the ground. Push off your entire foot to return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat the movement. Repeat for target repetitions.
The barbell back squat is an all-encompassing exercise to strengthen the lower body, engaging the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles.
To perform a barbell back squat, place a barbell at shoulder height on a squat rack, with safety pins just above waist level. Stand in front of the barbell, step under it and rest it on your upper back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Bend your hips and knees to lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair, pushing off the whole foot. Return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions.
Pull-ups are a fundamental exercise for upper body strength, working the lats, biceps, and back and shoulder muscles. Visualize squeezing a fruit under your armpit as you retract your shoulder blades and squeeze at the end of the movement.
To perform a pull-up, start by gripping a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and lift your body until your chin is over the bar, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Slowly lower your body until your arms are fully extended. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Repeat for target repetitions.
Next in these strength-building exercises for men over 40 are overhead presses. The overhead press is an excellent exercise to build strength targeting the shoulders and triceps and also activates the core.
To perform an overhead press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Keeping your core engaged, press the barbell up until your arms are fully extended overhead. Slowly lower the barbell to shoulder height, avoiding shrugging your shoulders throughout the range of motion. Repeat for target repetitions.
Bent-over rows target the upper back, lats and biceps, while also working the core. As you pull, visualize squeezing a piece of fruit under your armpit, making sure your shoulder blades are tucked in and you’re squeezing at the end of the motion.
To perform a bent-over row, stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or set of dumbbells in front of you with an overhand grip. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the waist, keeping your back straight. Pull the weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower the weights slowly, avoiding shrugging your shoulders throughout the range of motion. Repeat for target repetitions.
This list of the most effective strength-building exercises for men over 40 concludes with glute bridges. The glute bridge targets the glutes, hamstrings and core, promoting hip mobility and lower body strength. As you lift, visualize pulling your lower rib toward your pelvis and engaging your abs. For extra activation, place a resistance band around your legs above the knee.
To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back on the floor with both knees bent and your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Keeping your abs engaged, push through your entire foot to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Hold up for about a second, squeezing your glutes. Lower your hips to the ground in a controlled manner. Repeat for target repetitions.
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